CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a combination of rescue breathing and chest compressions delivered to a victim of cardiac arrest. This procedure is a pre-hospital help, which is given before medical help arrives. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association set CPR training and education standards. After such training, a CPR card is issued to certify that the trainee is certified to perform the necessary CPR protocols and procedures if and when the need arise
CPR card or CPR certifications are based on the organizations that offer them
- American Heart Association (AHA): This organization is the most widely accepted type of CPR cards. This American Heart CPR class is for the people who work in hospitals or medical settings. These CPR cards are required in almost all hospitals and do not expire for two years from the date when issued.
- American Red Cross: The Red Cross CPR certification is not as widely accepted as the AHA card. These CPR cards are valid up to one year from the date issued. Also these classes are more or less priced the same as the AHA classes.
- American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI): The American Safety and Health Institute CPR classes are applicable for those who do not work in the medical field. These CPR classes are inexpensive and come with a digital book that is updated every time the CPR guidelines change. All these CPR cards are valid for two years, just like AHA cards.
The CPR cards are also classified based on the type of CPR situations:
- Family and friends CPR: Also called as Community CPR, is sometimes classified by the American Red Cross as Infant/Child/Adult CPR. The standard procedure, for such CPR, includes both breathing and chest compressions. The new 'Hands-Only' CPR training given by AHA cites studies; confirm the fact that the omission of the breathing part of the procedure does not reduce the effectiveness of the standard procedure, though this technique is only recommended for adults. This AHA course includes special procedures performed on infants and young children. The CPR card issued on this training lasts for two years.
- Heart saver CPR: The heart saver CPR is an American Heart Association program that includes first aid; training and practice sessions. This course also includes removing of foreign bodies or obstructions in the airway and four hours of training. These courses are for the people who are identified as workplace responders like police, guards and firefighters. After the completion of the formal course a credential is given. These CPR certifications should be renewed every two years.
- Healthcare Provider CPR: This course trains the people to identify several life threatening situations, provide CPR, use an AED (automated external defibrillator), and relieve choking in a safe and timely manner. This training is applicable for the professionals working in healthcare, either licensed or not licensed. This group includes nurse assistants, physician's assistants, paramedics, etc. The four-hour course completion earns a CPR card.
- CPR/AED:A computerized medical-device, that is able to monitor the heart's rhythm and recognize when the CPR is not sufficient by itself. CPR is provided each time the AED makes the heart analysis. These classes are again, designed for the professional health care providers who regularly use the machine.
The CPR cards have to be renewed as per the validity period of the cards or if any new procedures are added to the standard. This varies from one to two years. This CPR card is hence important to have, in cases of emergency wherein CPR has to be given to revive a person who has had cardiac arrest.